A university study focused on the Woodruff Arts Center has quantitatively demonstrated what many of us already instinctively knew: Exposure to the arts enriches the lives of school kids.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas’ National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab spent two years tracking school field trips by Atlanta Public Schools students to the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Alliance Theatre. The study wanted to determine the social, emotional and academic impact of arts-related field trips on underserved students.
The impact, they discovered, was quite profound.
According to the study,
— students who made the field trips had higher standardized test scores in math and English language arts than those who didn’t,
— they had more positive academic gains and showed more interest in school, and
— they had higher levels of social tolerance.
“With the ever-present focus on increasing standardized test scores and strengthening student engagement, schools should consider the importance of field trips and arts experiences in a well-rounded education,” Angela Watson, one of the University of Arkansas researchers, said in a press release.
The study focused on fourth and fifth grade students and will continue to collect data on the students through middle school, high school and beyond.
“We are thrilled that the groundbreaking research tied to our Multi-Visit Program confirms what educators have long known: arts experiences are an essential component of every child’s formative school experience,” Doug Shipman, the Woodruff Arts Center’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “We are grateful to Atlanta Public Schools for its ongoing support of this initiative and hope these findings will impact field trip practices for schools and arts organizations throughout the nation.”